Alliance connects Dali with Bluetooth Mesh and Zigbee

  • April 26, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

The Dali Alliance has published specifications that define how Dali lighting products can be incorporated into Bluetooth Mesh and Zigbee wireless ecosystems.

The specifications are part of the alliance’s strategy to enable both wired and wireless connectivity for Dali, providing flexibility and creative freedom for lighting designers, OEMs and system integrators. Many factors determine whether wired or wireless or a combination of both is best for a project.

“Publishing the specifications for wireless to Dali gateways is a major milestone that signals our intention to allow Dali to operate within wireless networks when the need arises,” said Paul Drosihn, general manager of the Dali Alliance. “The move extends choice, convenience and creative possibilities to the user base of Dali wired systems and to those implementing new wired and wireless lighting control systems.”

Wireless to Dali gateways provide the flexibility to incorporate Dali luminaires and other Dali devices into the control network, so it becomes very straightforward to add lighting capabilities alongside the other features of the wireless ecosystem. Existing Dali devices can be used with these gateways, and there is already a range of certified and interoperable Dali-2 and D4i products on the market.

The gateway specifications aim to enable well-defined and consistent lighting behaviour.

Other benefits are data and analytics; the gateway specifications enable Dali control gear to report luminaire, energy and diagnostics data to the wireless ecosystem via the gateway, including lamp failure information. The wireless network has access to data such as real-time energy and power usage, and diagnostics information including failure conditions and run-time data that can enable predictive maintenance.

“The standardised gateway between Dali lighting products and Bluetooth Mesh lighting control networks will further accelerate the adoption of advanced IoT-enabled intelligent lighting systems,” said Mark Powell, Bluetooth SIG chief executive officer. “Providing valuable energy efficiencies and a more comfortable and productive experience for occupants, these sensor-rich lighting systems will also enable more efficient operation of other building systems, including HVAC and security.”

Chris LaPré, technology lead of the Zigbee Alliance, added: “The Zigbee to Dali gateway brings together the market-proven, cost-effective, low-power wireless Zigbee technology, with the internationally standardised and widely used wired Dali lighting protocol, to deliver optimised and expanded wireless lighting to the IoT market. When it comes to lighting-control networks, many of our members are invested across categories and applications, especially in the commercial space. As they continue to lead the market and innovate in new directions afforded by the IoT, we support broadening lighting possibilities as manufacturers drive standards that matter and deliver lighting that keeps the world connected.”

The two specifications are part 341, covering Bluetooth Mesh to Dali gateways, and part 342, describing Zigbee to Dali gateways. The specifications are available from the Dali Alliance web site. The part numbers are aligned with the global, multi-part IEC 62386 standard for Dali technology. The specifications will be transferred to the IEC for incorporation into IEC 62386.

Tests are already in development, which will enable gateways to be added to the Dali-2 certification programme, providing interoperability between products from different vendors.

The Dali Alliance is an open, global consortium of lighting companies that drives the growth of lighting-control based on internationally-standardised Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (Dali) technology. The organisation operates the Dali-2 and D4i certification programmes to boost levels of cross-vendor interoperability.